Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hangzhou, China


It's my first time in main land China. This time I am with  Ma'am Cinch, Sir Bong & Ma'am Chiqui. We met with Dave and Jia-Jia, the jolly girl who will helped us survive communicating in this China trip. 

 We arrived at dawn and stayed a while at Dave's house. By 5:30am we went to Shanghai Train Station. The train station is very modern but a bit dirty. It has a wide dome which reminds me of a alien mother ship. We waited for  some time, the train being delayed & having Jia-Jia translate the posted schedule. When the train arrived, we ran. The crew gave us the wrong direction, so we had to run back to the opposite direction. It was an "Amazing Race" moment. One of the few we had on this trip. When we boarded there were already people sleeping on our beds, but soon they vacated our space. We slept for a awhile on the "not so clean" bed. When our mattress had already been used by others. The train ride to Hangzhou is about 2 hours. It's hard to sleep when you know somebody is looking at you. I woke up to watch the view from the window. There was a tumbler with tea. Chinese people really love their tea.


 The view of the countryside is nice. The farms are spanning along the railway, and behind them are the 3 storey houses. When we reached Hangzhou, we went to KFC for breakfast. They tried the Congee with You Tiao (fried bread).  Before we left the train station, we bought our tickets to Wuyi. There are long queues. Good thing Jia-Jia was with us then. We'd be clueless,every destination posted is in Chinese Characters. We went to Hangzhou West Lakes. A man-made lake with different smaller lakes.It is the lake that inspired artists & it's where romantics dwell. It has picturesque hills, just like the ones we see on Chinese Paintings. The calm lake is surrounded by willow trees. We had lunch at Louwailou Restaurant, sampled the Dong Po Pork, which can clog arteries. We ate the West Lake fish, with a  bit sour sauce. I didn't like the fish balls, it tasted like ocean water. When I went to the toilet, I've learned that they only use squat toilet seats.






Beggar's Duck- Duck cooked in Mud

Wood Etching


DongPo Pork

Fish Ball Soup



We rented a row boat to give us a tour of the lake. The old lady uses one big paddle to control the boat. It was a very humid day though hazy. We passed by some bridges stone & wood alike. We even passed by the 3 islets in the middle . We saw some birds including wood ducks.



Willow Trees



Hangzhou Lake









  After our boating, we passed by the house of seals. I like the architecture, it's authentic. I love the round entrance. We rented a van to take us to Lin Yin Temple. I love temples because they are rich in culture. That afternoon, the place is packed with local tourists. 


House of Seals


  We visited the Temple of Soul's Retreat.  In the middle a giant Buddha seats, covered in shiny metal. There's a hole behind it with sculptures of other personalities. It was a bit scary image. We also entered a chamber with isles filled with hundreds of Buddhist sculptures, having different characteristics.


















Late in the afternoon we entered a temple, they call "Grand Hall of the Great Sage".
 It was already dark when we hiked up the part of the mountain, where the images are etched out of the rocks. I like the Laughing Buddha. There's even a cave with a Buddha etched on its ceiling. There are many beggars with decapitated parts of their bodies. I remembered the forwarded emails regarding kidnappings of mafias, and having cut some body parts so they can be posted on the streets as beggars. It was really a scary thought. We lacked time so we weren't able to climb up the Leifang Pagoda. We passed by the Longing Tea Culture Village. It's a really nice place. Lush green tea farms sprawl along the hills. It must be a pleasant view to wake up to in the morning.






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